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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

Congress worker hacked to death in Kerala, party says PFI behind attack

Congress workers alleged that activists belonging to the Social Democratic Party of India, political wing of fundamentalist outfit Popular Front of India, were behind the attack.

india Updated: Jul 31, 2019 17:12 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
According to police, four Congress workers were waylaid and attacked by SDPI workers over a local issue on Tuesday night.
According to police, four Congress workers were waylaid and attacked by SDPI workers over a local issue on Tuesday night. (File photo for representation)
         

A Congress Party worker died early Wednesday after he was stabbed in Chavakkad in Thrissur district on Tuesday night, police said. Congress workers alleged that activists belonging to the Social Democratic Party of India, political wing of the fundamentalist outfit Popular Front of India (PFI), were behind the attack.

Police said four Congress workers were waylaid and attacked by a gang over a local issue. Chavakkad booth Congress president P Naushad (40) who seriously injured in the attack succumbed to his injuries at the hospital early Wednesday.

Kerala’s director general of police Loknath Behera promptly ordered a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the murder. Some of the assailants have been identified, the SIT said.

Police said they were keeping a strict vigil to prevent further clashes.

The Congress has called a day-long shutdown in Chavakkad to protest the murder. The SDPI disowned the attack and said some local issues led to clashes between two groups.

PCC president Mullappally Ramachandran and opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala condemned the murder.

“Some communal elements are whipping up trouble in the state. All assailants should be brought to justice. We hope the police will probe the case in a fair manner,” said Ramachandran.

Cold-blooded political killings are nothing new to the state. In February two Youth Congress workers, Kripesh and Sharath Lal, were stabbed to death by an alleged group of CPI(M) workers in north Kerala’s Kasarkkode. In July 2018, a Students Federation of India leader Abhimanyu was hacked to death allegedly by a group workers belonging to the Campus Front, student wing of the Popular Front.

The PFI was launched in Kerala in 2006 after merging three fringe Muslim outfits - the National Development Front of Kerala, Karnataka Forum for Dignity and Manitha Neethi Pasari of the Tamil Nadu - to protect “interest of the backward and oppressed people.” The PFI now claims it has units in 20 states.

In Kerala most of its leaders were members of the banned Student Islamic Movement of India. The PFI was allegedly involved in at least 24 political murders in Kerala. In 2015, 13 of its workers were awarded life-term for chopping the palm of a college professor in Muvattupuzha who prepared a question paper alleged to be blasphemous. Two years ago six PFI activists were held in connection with the murder of an ABVP leader in Kannur and nine were arrested for killing SFI leader Abhimanyu in Maharajas College in Ernakulam in 2018. There were strong demands from many quarters to ban the fundamentalist outfit.

First Published: Jul 31, 2019 14:04 IST

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